Ibn Hajr Quoting al-Qurtubi: The Companions Never Delved into al-Jawhar (Substance) and al-'Arad (Accident) - And Criticism of the Ash'arite Theologians
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Sunday, July, 05 2009 and filed under Articles
Key topics: Al-Qurtubi Jawhar 'arad A'raad Substance Accident Al-Qurtubi Jawhar 'arad A'raad Substance Accident

We mentioned in a previous article Ibn Hajr's refutation of one of the main principles of the Ash'aris relating to the first obligation upon the servant (which the generality of the Ash'aris consider to be an-nadhr wal-istidlaal - to rationally prove one's faith in the Creator). View that article here.

This was in the beginning of his explanation of Kitaab ut-Tawheed from Saheeh ul-Bukhaaree. In the same section Ibn Hajr quotes a nice piece from al-Qurtubi - inshaa'Allaah if time allows we may translate it all, the quote from al-Qurtubi spans more than a page in length.

The generality of the Ash'aris hold that it is an obligation for each person to know the proofs for the existence of his Lord, through rational and observational proofs and some of them (such as al-Baqillani) go to extremes in claiming that each and every person must learn the preliminary philosophical precepts that underlie the demonstration of Allaah's existence through al-jawhar wal-'arad (substance and accident).

A page earlier, Ibn Hajr makes mention of the positions of Ibn Fawrak and his followers, and also that of Abu Bakr al-Baqillani and Abu Ishaq al-Isfaraa'eenee (all Ash'aris - being students of Abul-Hasan al-Bahili, the student of Abu Hasan al-Ash'ari) on this subject.

In this quote al-Qurtubi is repudiating the likes of the mutakallimeen (Theologians) and their sophistry and much of what they delved into. In the course of this, al-Qurtubi says:

And sufficient in deterring (anyone) from delving into the path of the mutakallimeen (the philosophical theologians) is what has been established from the preceding Imaams, such as Umar bin Abdul-Azeez, Maalik bin Anas and ash-Shaafi'ee. And some of the leading scholars have categorically stated that the Companions never delved into al-jawhar and al-'arad [substance and accident, (taken from the Greek Philosophers by the Mu'tazilah and then the Ash'ariyyah)] and whatever is related to that in the investigative studies of the mutakallimeen (Theologians). And anyone who desires a path besides theirs, then suffice it as misguidance for him...

And he (al-Qurtubi) continues:

And al-kalaam (theological rhetoric) led to many of its people to doubt, and some of them to deviation (al-ilhaad) and some of them to be neglectful in the tasks of worship. The reason for that was their turning away from the texts of the legislator (i.e. Allaah) and their seeking (knowledge of) the realities of affairs from other than them. There is not in the strength of the intellect, what allows it to grasp what is in the texts of the legislator of the ruling that He has kept in the knowledge with Himself. And many of their leading scholars turned back from their path, until it has come from Imaam ul-Haramayn (al-Juwaynee) that he said, "I have traversed the greatest ocean and in seeking the truth and fleeing from taqleed I plunged myself into everything that the people of knowledge forbade. And now, I have returned (recanted) and believed the madhhab of the Salaf", this is his speech or it's meaning. And also from him (al-Juwaynee) that he said, "O our companions, do not get occupied with al-kalaam, for if you knew it led me to what it led me, you would not become occupied with it"...

So we see from these quotes that Ibn Hajr quotes al-Qurtubi in the context of the opinions of the Ash'arite Theologians on the subject of the first obligation upon the servants - being influenced in that by the Mu'tazilah - and al-Qurtubi repudiates those delving into the al-jawhar (substance) and al-'arad (accident) - which is all of the Ash'arite Theologians, for all of their books contain this, and he makes mention of one of the earlier leading figureheads, Imaam ul-Haramayn al-Juwaynee, repenting from that misguided path at the end of his life.

Jahmi Ash'arite Apologetics Exposed

And this is an exposition of many of these Jahmite Ash'ari apologetics writing on the subject of "al-Jawhar al-Fard" (the indivisible element), attempting to defend it, making wild and exaggerated claims that unless we hold onto this notion and use it in our creed, it will lead to belief in the eternity of the universe (and therefore atheism)!

And here we have Ibn Hajr, quoting al-Qurtubi who repudiates the people who investigate into such affairs, declaring them to be upon misguidance!

The root of this is their following the Philosophers of the pagan nations of the past such as the Greeks and Hindus and their abandoning what the Companions were upon and not sufficing with that.